Edison vs. Jobs

Thomas Edison vs. Steve Jobs

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Edison vs. Jobs – Some might say its impossible to put these two in the same category, others will say its fair to judge them in contemporary times.  I personally thing its fair to judge them in any time period from now until 100 years from now.

For those who don’t know history, Thomas Alva Edison was probably the greatest inventor of all time.  He was an insomniac, and he was relentless.  When people would ask him about his failures, he simply said “when inventing the light bulb, I didn’t fail, I just found 10,000 things that did not work” and of course, that lead to the one success which would have never happened if he had given up only after a few thousand tries.

Thomas Edison may not have invented all these products, but he had perfected them: the light bulb, the telephone, the phonograph, cinema, and the list goes on and on.  While Alexander Graham Bell is credited with inventing the telephone, Thomas Edison has submitted a patent at nearly the same time and only lost due to a timing issue, but everyone agreed that his invention was much clearer sounding and of better quality.  And of course, you have the great Italian Antonio Meucci, but at that point, there was a technology occurring throughout all modern parts of the world, and it was a scramble to see who would first get credit for inventing something that would change the world.

Even still, we need to examine the basics and what it boils down to.

Thomas Edison clearly did not just invent, but revolutionized the following:

  1. Telephone & Telegraph
  2. Electricity & Power
  3. Cinema & Movies
  4. Music & Distribution

Steve Jobs clearly did revolutionize 3 out of 4 of those most major industries:

  1. Telephone via iPhone
  2. Music via iPod & iTunes
  3. Cinema & Movies via Pixar
  4. Computers

Not necessarily in that order, but you can easily put Steve Jobs up there with Thomas Edison.  The tie breaker would be the computer, but if they had been around in Edison’s time, you can be sure he would have brought it into common households just as he did the phone, electricity and music.

Can you or anyone you know challenge this and name another person in the last 200 years that has revolutionized all 4 sectors of the modern world?  I don’t think any reasonable claim can be made, so we have to admit that while Thomas Edison changed the world with his inventions and vision, Steve Jobs revolutionized it, and both are worthy of legendary status.


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